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Camera-trapping records of birds and mammals visiting water-filled tree holes in the Calakmul region in southern Mexico

Cite this dataset

Delgado-Martínez, Carlos M.; Cudney-Valenzuela, Sabine J.; Mendoza, Eduardo (2021). Camera-trapping records of birds and mammals visiting water-filled tree holes in the Calakmul region in southern Mexico [Dataset]. Dryad.


Using camera-traps we documented that 21 bird and 9 mammal species visited water-filled tree holes (dendrotelmata) in the seasonal tropical forest of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, in southern Mexico. These species visited dendrotelmata primarily for foraging and drinking. The overall use of dendrotelmata was equally frequent between dry and rainy seasons but drinking behavior increased among birds during the dry season. This dataset includes information on the identity of visiting species, time and date of the visit, behavior of the visiting species, season (rainy/dry) in which the species was recorded, station (dendrotelma) in which the species was recorded, associated temperature and the number of individuals recorded in each visit.


We searched for trees with dendrotelmata by walking in a non-systematic way outside existing trails within the Calakmul Biosphere Rerserve (CBR) in the state of Campeche, southern Mexico. Our search was conducted only in the medium sub-perennial forest since it has trees with larger diameters. We located eight dendrotelmata, one per tree, at a minimum height of 2 m and a maximum of 9 m (mean ± SD = 5.6 ± 2.6 m), and separated by a distance of 5.9 ± 4.7 km. We set up one camera-trap aimed at each of the eight dendrotelmata. Cameras were active between June 2018 and March 2020 (231 ± 147 days) and were programmed to take 20-s long videos each time they were triggered and to have a 5-s resting time before reactivation. All the species in the videos were identified by the same person using field guides for birds and mammals. Visitation events consisted of the grouped consecutive records of the same species and camera, following the method applied by Camargo-Sanabria & Mendoza (2016, Acta oecologica, vol. 73, p. 45-52) . We classified events into five behaviors: 1. Bathing—when the animal immersed a part of its body into the water; 2. Drinking—when the animal took water from the dendrotelma into its mouth 3. Bathing/Drinking—when the animal bathed and drank water; 4. Foraging— when the animal stopped at the entrance of the dendrotelma and conducted a visual search or dug around in the detritus accumulated within the empty dendrotelma; and 5. Passing by—when the animal crossed in front of the dendrotelma but did not stop to use it.

Usage notes

A readme file is attached.


Rufford Foundation, Award: 24083-1

National Geographic Society, Award: EC-196R-18